Efficiency Professor Series of Articles, Soils, Carbon, Farms and Resources to reverse Climate Change. Article 1 - Soil Organic Carbon Copyright July 2022
Article 2 - Why would Farmers Apply Organic Living Soils Rather Than Chemical Fertilizers?
Article 3 - Why Should Governments Support Rebuilding Organic Living Soils?
In previous articles, we have identified what Organic Livings Soils are and how they can change the commerce and outcomes for all farmers in very position revenue and wealth terms.
Government engagement in the national development of Organic Living Soil Fertilizers and the broader fixing of carbon into the soils is essential to ensure the speed and scale of implementation.
But why should the Government become involved?
There are a number of reasons.
Soils are the optimum low tech and immediate Carbon Capture technology Governments need to realize COP26 obligations. The farmers will put the carbon in the soils...empower them!
Analysis of the numbers on a few countries. Lets use Thailand as we have developed a Carbon Emission strategy specific for the Thailand Government through their TGO (Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization) to meet it’s carbon commitments at COP26. By way of background, Thailand does not have an Emissions Trading Scheme or a Cap and Trade structure to drive emission reductions through a compliance market as we see in the UK or Europe. The only market is the voluntary or non-compliance market where they currently trade around 5 million tonnes of carbon emission reduction carbon credits which is very laudable being only a domestic market scale. Unfortunately the target for 2030 is 115 million tonnes of emission reduction credits. This is simply not going to happen in the current market form.
Any compliance market integration into the Thai economy at this time would increase pressure following the COVID pandemic and associated difficulties across the economy but especially in the tourist and property sectors. There is a further consideration in regard to the Thai economy common to many developing economies in that they are very fossil fuel reliant. Increased pressure on their use and supply will impact potential economic growth. Fossil Fuels drive 87% of global emissions.
The T-VER voluntary carbon market credit methodology for Soil Organic Carbon is compatible with introduction of High Carbon Organic Living Soils into the ground to fix carbon and thereby generate Carbon Credits for the Voluntary market. The Australian compliance market issues ACCUs from a very similar methodology but for the Australian compliance market at pricing between $35 and 80 Australian per Carbon Credit. Gold Standard and VCS also have similar methodologies with more coming into the market place.
Carbon Fixing, Not Offsetting.
It should be noted that these Carbon Fixing Carbon Credits as opposed to the Carbon Offsetting Carbon Credits are much preferred by buyers because they have direct and attributable environmental and social outcome benefits beyond atmospheric emission reductions. Microsoft is an example of companies that buy Carbon Fixing Credits. Microsoft buys somewhere in the order of 1.5m tonnes of Carbon Credits per year to manage their company wide emissions.
Cost of Carbon Capture Technology
The commerce of the farming pays for the Organic Living Soils to be applied into the fields and ground. The Biomass Trade and Waste Stream processing capability pays for the operations and Capital Expenditure to grow the number of working Bioreactors in very short order. The commercial value of each operating unit alone encourages finance and grants. This is more fully explained in the next section but brings to the table the solution to source of investment capital to grow this program nationally.
Indeed we can see the Capex cost per direct carbon tonne fixed into the soil is $62 with this investment capital repaid and earning profit from the commerce of the Organic Living Soils independently of the Carbon Credits or Carbon Value generated.
The Carbon Credits have a cost based almost solely on administrative and auditing costs of about $2 per tonne only.
How To Meet COP26 Scale?
In Thailand, there are 12 million farms approximately. If each farm was enabled to produce 30 tonnes of biomass on their farm which amounts to 1/5 of a hectare of biomass from sorghum alone (just over one Rai) then this would amount to less than 1/2 of 1% of additional soil carbon required per hectare with 20 more years of applications at this speed required to rebuild soil health generally throughout Thailand. This would produce 120 million tonnes of carbon sequestered per year which exceeds the COP26 targets. There is simply no other Carbon Credit generating solution out there that can offer this scale, this effectiveness in regard to environmental or social or governance outcomes. None of them have the commercial value generation structure that the Biomass Trade with the Technology provides that messes and interfaces with current farm machinery and techniques. There is not a huge change in farming, just the fertilizers and soil health.
Side Note - putting 1/2 of 1% of Soil Organic Carbon into all the fields of a farm is not productive or efficient. It is far better to build the Soil Organic Carbon levels up to 14% in fields one at a time so that they become organic and function commercially as such. The rest of the farm can transition over time.
The Government had to participate with the Soil Organic High Carbon Living Soils Fertilizers if only to meet it’s Carbon Emission Reduction Targets in the absence of any other large scale alternatives.
Imagine every single farm being commercially productive and growing value to support food, energy and construction needs domestically and perhaps even tied to exports? Grown value means GROWTH in the economy. Currently the onus is on the farmers themselves to work out how to best organize themselves and which technology to use. How many Governments are really taking the lead on this information and technology or market restrictions? Farmers are core economic infrastructure. They grow value from small seeds to crops or trees. These crops after harvest generally generate 3 - 5 times their value ex-farm price if the farmer receives fair value. Many farmers do not receive fair value. This means they literally cannot maintain or reinvest back into their production which weakens food and natural resource supply chains. This is a national security issue AND food security issue. It is actually as significant part of the economic security and growth of an economy itself. Conservation and Agriculture are hidden in plain sight of economists, policy makers and environmentalists. A suggestion to policy makers - take some of the Fossil Fuel rebates away and put them with the Agricultural sector into the production of soils and energy crops, in commercial forestry and into conservation finance and you will protect and enhance the natural resources of the country demonstrably for your citizens while reducing emissions and building the economy. This is delivery on a number of key policy agenda items.
Lets take an honest view of farming all around the world. It is incredibly hard work. Long hours, lots of time sensitive decisions and jobs to be done. The amount of knowledge, equipment and administration to run a farm is astronomical. Add to this the increasing costs of inputs from chemicals and the reducing capabilities of the soils. Government know this, science proves it and farmers see it. This is akin to running a car and never checking the oil. It will fail sooner or later. Modern farms, subsistence or mechanized, are suffering reduced outputs and increased costs which is a simple inflection point for success to failure. Add climate change to this formula and it is accelerated failure for more and more farmers. Somewhere in the region of 192,000 farms in the UK. Only 20% of these are over 250 acres. The larger farms cover three quarters of the farmland. Around 50% of all holdings are under 50 acres, with many farms being family-run units. As many as 25% of these farms face bankruptcy currently. These farms are failing directly because of increasing input costs, a squeeze on produce values despite the cost of living rises, the value to farmer is shrinking, and the cost of regulation and even labour. This is a very common problem all over the world for every farmer.
Producing Living Soils for almost free and unburdening the farmers from 15-20% of their cost to farm and grow crops will significantly improve farm commerce. Producing organic produce including organic living soils locally will significantly improve rural and national economies. More revenue in the farms will bring more people back to farming. The decline in labour figures is a bit disingenuous in that modern farming is mechanized and moving towards no or low till which in itself reduces ploughing times as an example which is simply less labour required on a farm. The key success driver to farms is low costs, high revenues and well managed risk. The platform for all of this for all farmers is their soil. This is their engine room, their factory machinery to make their products and it has been systematically decayed by chemicals and shortsighted farming techniques. It is unlikely that any single farmer today will stand in front of any single policy maker or other farmer and state honestly that the way he farms today is sustainable. Change is here. Soils are at the lead of that change.
The key points to stress are the fact that the introducing Living Soils through Soil Super Centers is self funding after it is initialized. The physical production of the living soils and associated technology is financed by the biomass trade and gate fees with product sold into the retail and trade markets. This is a very profitable investment which scales very quickly.
The Soil Technology and the Biomass Trade all focused on Soil Centers build value and revenues into all participating farms, rural economies and sustainable natural resource production. These are all economic growth drivers.
The Bioreactor offers amazing waste stream management solutions. The Bioreactor is able to eliminate all pathogens and weed seeds from the processed materials to EPA standards which is in itself an essential element of scaling living soils and waste management solutions. Now food waste, animal manures even with hormones, antibiotics and steroids or pathogens can be neutralized by the thermophylic process in the controlled bioreactor chamber. This even eliminates pathogens for forestry which is becoming more prevalent and damaging to commercial and ornamental trees through incomplete mulching processes from standing pile or simple chipping recycling of wood waste. This pathogen break in the food and resources cycle is critical to controlling the transmission of these pathogens.
The improved farm economics driver through the trade of the biomass is significant in farm and national economic terms. The reduction of input costs which are generated locally is the first economic value component built by this trade. Into this is feed waste streams that have no other solutions available to process them to value today. The culmination of the trade for the farmer is to reduce the farmer input costs by 50-90% while the quality and yields will increase rapidly beyond chemical commercial outcomes. The crop strength and the ability of the soils to hold more water and nutrients makes the crops less susceptible to climate change challenges.
The net outcome for Governments through the adoption of Living Soils as the Organic Carbon Source of fertilizers for farmers is positive in economic terms for farmers and Governments. For more working papers on the economic uplift benefit from the Organic Soils Technology and Biomass Trade framework, please contact the author.
Developing an agricultural sector that can reliably produce all the food, energy and natural resources for the country has to be a very high priority for all Governments. Producing domestically the soil resources upon which all of the produce is generated and the farms are operated on makes this much more manageable and controllable. International fossil fuel pricing comes through chemical fertilizers which in turn impacts profits in farms and costs of produce to consumers. Currently chemical based farming costs are between 15 to 20% of the total cultivation costs. 15-20% of all crop farming value goes to fossil fuels. Imagine the risk consideration of that. The economic leakage of currency reserves and the drag on the economy of such a practice and yet, this is exactly what is happening.
Water and food security are becoming critical considerations for everyone. Has it occurred to anyone that this is a common issue globally? What has changed globally for water and now food resources to decline? It is all in the soils. Not just the soils, there are many contributing factors but the soils are by far and away one of the critical ones. Deforestation is important for water ingress into soils and aquifers, that pays a huge part in the water equations but the 5 billion hectares of land for crops and pastures, many of which suffer compaction now the forests have been removed and the carbon has been depleted from the soils and ground, these are unable to take into the ground the water like they did before.
Rebuilding the soil health will rebuild the water ingress into the aquifers, will slow down topsoil erosion, will enable the crops to be more resistant to climate change and therefore will incrementally improve water resource management and food, energy and resources production. It is not complicated. It needs to be started and implemented.
Want to know more about the numbers? Make sure and catch the next and other articles.
Article 4 - Climate Change Temperature and Soils
Like what you read? Agree or not agree with what you we have to say? Comment, forward and join. Together we can only get closer to the answers we need to begin to reverse climate change, water scarcity and make farming better for farmers and consumers alike.
Efficiency Professor Copyright July 2022